Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Breath of fresh air

By Lu Hong (China Daily)

Engineer Liu Sha spends long days in the office, suffers from shortness of breath and easily catches colds. But her days of anguish are slowly disappearing thanks to "yijinjing", a combination of stretching movements and breathing exercises.

This technique was practiced inside the confines of the Shaolin Temple 1,500 years ago and up until 40 years ago, remained a mystery.

The exercises Liu practices mostly involve standing in a half crouched position raising the arms and breathing slowly.

"Now I have stronger breaths and a bigger appetite," Liu, 31, says. "My neck pain is also getting a little relief."

Under the instruction of Master Liu Yuchao, the 31-year-old professional has learned to control her breathing and can now feel qi (energy) flowing through her body.

Breathing plays an important role in most yijinjing movements, which is similar to taichi, another traditional system of physical exercises.

She learned from a news report that a yijinjing training class had opened in the Lianyang International Neighborhood, just a stone's throw away from her home.

"I learned that yijinjing is also helpful for ordinary practitioners to replenish qi, nourish the blood and calm the nerves," she says. "Then I decided to have a try."

Yijinjing, which means "limbering up exercises for the tendons", is one of the most treasured internal exercises to come out of the Shaolin Temple in Henan province. The temple is also the birthplace of Chinese kungfu.

According to legend, Bodhidharma Ta Mo created yijinjing about 1,500 years ago. It blended Zen Buddhism with martial arts to help strengthen the Shaolin monks, prolong their meditations and get them fighting-fit in order to defend their temple from invaders.

For centuries, the Shaolin monks practiced these exercises in secret and most Chinese were unaware of the techniques until the 1960s, when Louis Cha's martial arts novels became hugely popular.

In these novels, the leading characters began their lives as ordinary men but after practicing yijinjing in the Shaolin Temple they would miraculously grow into top kungfu masters.

"Actually yijinjing is not as mysterious as people think. It's just like yoga, and is good for everyday fitness," says Liu Yuchao, the instructor.

Chinese medicine doctor, Liu Yuchao, from Yueyang Chinese Medicine Hospital, opened the first yijinjing training class in Shanghai in September and Liu Sha was one of his first students.

"In my clinic, I've often taught my patients some movements to practice at home, as a way to coordinate with their clinical therapy," Dr Liu says. "They just don't know that I'm teaching them yijinjing."

Yueyang Chinese Medicine Hospital is now launching a health campaign in the city and Dr Liu is the yijinjing promoter.

Liu massages the neck and spine of each student and can discover their health problems immediately. He then suggests the best movements to cure their pain. Students consult Liu about their health problems after class and ask for advice.

Dr Liu and his promotion team want to promote yijinjing among foreigners in Shanghai.

Their first class was at Lianyang International Neighborhood in Pudong and their second class, which is being prepared, will be held in Gubei International Neighborhood.

Currently, Yueyang Hospital is not the only organization devoted to promoting yijinjing. Shaolin Temple announced a plan in September to open yijinjing training courses across China.

"Our company did have such a plan but everything is still under preparation," says Qian Xiangpeng, a project leader of Shaolin Huanxidi Company, a subsidiary of the temple's commercial arm.

Jane Chen, editor-in-chief of a yachting magazine, has tried yijinjing because she flies to Europe six times a month on average for business and the jetlag leaves her exhausted. Yoga didn't help so she tried something new.

"I've practiced yoga for a long time. It emphasizes body stretching and twisting," she says. "For me, it's too simple because I have a soft body.

"I often feel shortness of breath, yijinjing is an exercise that emphasizes internal breathing, and so it might work on me."

See this article at: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2008-12/30/content_7353791.htm

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What is Artemisinin?

Coartem, a malaria drug whose potency is derived from a Chinese herb, may soon be approved for sale in the United States.
By Jordan Lite, Scientific American

Coartem, derived from the Chinese herb artemisinin, wipes out malaria in over 96 per cent of patients in regions where malaria has become resistant to older drugs.

See full article at:

Sweet Wormwood or artemesiae annuae (Chinese: Qing Hao) is available at:


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Actor Jeremy Pivens false Claims Blaming Chinese Herbs for Mercury poisoning? You Decide!

Recent articles flying over the Web claim the unsubstantiated “fact” that actor Jeremy Piven's “mercury poisoning” came from “sushi” and “Chinese herbs”.
Chinese herbs laced with mercury are illegal in this country and have been banned for years. Where did Piven get them?
We would hope that Piven's doctor would explain, however, apparently he's a controversial figure in the medical field.
As it turns out, Colker is a “love doctor,” or he was until the Federal Trade Commission called the sex drug he formulated and hawked in infomercials a sham.
Colker was busted in an FTC complaint against a Portland, Maine, company known as Vital Basics, Inc. The company was sued for false and misleading advertising involving a sex drug that Colker had formulated called V-Factor Natural Pack.
Colker, who bills himself as a “doctor and fitness trainer to the stars,” has also been sued in at least four states over another “scientific study” and testimonials in support of the sale and use of ephedra-laced drugs.
Read more about Dr. Colker at:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Authentic Chinese junk boat on the verge of extinction

The Free China is the last authentic Fujian-style junk boat in and on the verge of extinction. If a home is not found by summer 2009, it will be destroyed. Lost forever.

Click on the link below to find out more about the Free China junk and how you can help save it.

Treatment of Recalcitrant Psoriasis using Indigo Naturalis

Clinical Assessment of Patients With Recalcitrant Psoriasis in a Randomized, Observer-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Trial Using Indigo Naturalis

Yin-Ku Lin, MD; Chee-Jen Chang, PhD; Ya-Ching Chang, MD; Wen-Rou Wong, MD; Shu-Chen Chang, PhD; Jong-Hwei Su Pang, PhD

Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(11):1457-1464.

Objective To evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatment with indigo naturalis in patients with recalcitrant plaque-type psoriasis.

Design Randomized, observer-blind, vehicle-controlled, intrapatient comparison study.
Setting Ambulatory department of a hospital.

Participants Forty-two outpatients with chronic plaque psoriasis were enrolled in the study from May 1, 2004, to April 30, 2005.
Intervention The patients applied either indigo naturalis ointment or vehicle ointment topically to each of 2 bilaterally symmetrical psoriatic plaque lesions for 12 weeks (depending on the date of enrollment in the study).

Main Outcome Measures The outcomes were assessed using the following criteria: the sum of erythema, scaling, and induration scores and the clearing percentage of the target plaque lesion assessed by 2 blinded observers.

Results Significant reductions in the sum of scaling, erythema, and induration scores (P < .001) (mean score, 6.3 after indigo naturalis treatment vs 12.8 in control subjects) and plaque area percentage (P < .001) (mean percentage, 38.5% after indigo naturalis treatment vs 90% in controls) were achieved with topical application of indigo naturalis ointment. Approximately 31 of 42 patients (74%) experienced clearance or near clearance of their psoriasis in the indigo ointment–treated lesion.

Conclusion Topical indigo naturalis ointment was a novel, safe, and effective therapy for plaque-type psoriasis.

See this article at:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Duke Study: Acupuncture Offers Better Headache Relief Over Medication

By Duke Medicine, Press Release, 1 week, 6 days ago

Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, according to a new analysis conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

The National Institutes of Health recommended acupuncture as a viable treatment for chronic headaches a decade ago and, while research in this field has increased, there have been conflicting reports about its efficacy.

“We combed through the literature and conducted the most comprehensive review of available data done to date using only the most rigorously-executed trials,” says Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan, M.D., a Duke anesthesiologist who lead the analysis.

Researchers analyzed data from only randomized controlled trials evaluating acupuncture for adults with chronic headaches and were conducted for more than four weeks.

“Acupuncture is becoming a favorable option for a variety of purposes ranging from enhancing fertility to decreasing post-operative pain because people experience significantly fewer side effects and it can be less expensive than other options,” Gan says. “This analysis reinforces that acupuncture also is a successful source of relief from chronic headaches.”

While everyone experiences an occasional headache, more than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Medication remains the mainstay of treatment with varying levels of success.

The Duke team looked at studies that compared traditional acupuncture to either medication or a control group who received sham acupuncture. Similar to traditional acupuncture, the sham therapy entails inserting needles into the skin but the acupuncturist avoids meridians or areas of the body that Chinese medicine teaches contains vital energy associated with achieving balance needed for good health.

Researchers analyzed more than 30 studies to arrive at the findings published in the December issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia. The studies included nearly 4,000 patients who reported migraines (17 studies), tension headaches (10 studies) and other forms of chronic headaches with multiple symptoms (four studies).

In 17 studies comparing acupuncture to medication, the researchers found that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to only 45 percent of people taking medication. These acupuncture patients also reported better physical well-being compared to the medication group. In 14 studies that compared real acupuncture to sham therapy, 53 percent of acupuncture patients responded to treatment compared to 45 percent receiving sham therapy. “Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years but only recently has started to become more accepted as an alternative or supplement to conventional therapies,” Gan explains.

“One of the barriers to treatment with acupuncture is getting people to understand that while needles are used it is not a painful experience,” Gan says. “It is a method for releasing your body’s own natural painkillers.”

Acupuncture therapy is becoming widely available nationwide and a typical course of treatment for chronic headaches requires 30-minute sessions. Many people begin experiencing relief following five to six visits. Gan also has conducted research to determine the effect of acupuncture on post-operative pain, nausea and vomiting. His research has found that acupuncture can significantly reduce pain and the need for pain medications following surgery. He also found that acupuncture can be as effective as medication in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Yanxia Sun, M.D. The meta-analysis was supported by Duke's Department of Anesthesiology.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tang dynasty Chinese Medicine Practitioner Sun Si Miao

The great Tang dynasty Chinese Medicine Practitioner Sun Si Miao (孙思邈) once wrote:
Translated, it means: The best doctors treat the disease that is yet to occur; The average doctors treat the disease that is about to occur;The mediocre doctors treat the disease that has already occurred.

'Heat' causes eczema

By Gerard Yeo, Asiaonehealth

Q. My two-year-old daughter has eczema behind her knees, on her elbows as well as dark circles under her eyes. Tests for allergies conducted by doctors are inconclusive. How can TCM help?

A. Eczema is a condition which causes the skin to become itchy and inflamed.
It can appear on any part of the body but is most frequently found on the face, wrists, elbows and knees. The skin may become thick and appear brownish grey.
It is caused by a deficiency in the functions of the lung, spleen and kidney, insufficient yin and qi, as well as poor blood circulation. Pathogenic factors such as wind, heat and dampness also play a part.
In TCM, the lungs are responsible for the condition of the skin. So people with weak lungs or those suffering from asthma also tend to suffer from eczema.
Chinese medicine, cupping therapy and infant tui na massage can improve your daughter's condition by strengthening her organs and dispelling the pathogenic factors.
Chinese herbs such as Mulberry Leaf (sangye) is commonly prescribed for rashes on the face, while Oyster Shell (muli) and Nacre (zhenzhumu) are used to treat eczema with itchiness and redness present.
Your daughter should abstain from sweet food as it causes dampness. She should also avoid spicy food as it creates heat. Also, do not let her eat sour and cold food as it weakens the digestive system.
Cut down on red meat as it is difficult to digest and also creates heat.
Other types of food which may cause allergies are seafood, dairy products such as milk and eggs, and wheat products such as bread.
Dark circles under the eyes point to weak kidneys and a lack of proper sleep at night.
She should get sufficient rest and not sleep later than 10pm to prevent internal heat from accumulating in her body.
Taking showers at room temperature and moisturising after that will minimise skin irritation.
-Information provided by Ms Lim Lay Beng, a TCM physician at YS Healthcare TCM Clinic.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Equine Acupressure Therapeutics

Interested in using Chinese medicine on horses? Read this!

New Book Series: Equine Acupressure Therapeutics Equestrian News Release
An equine acupressure book that really makes sense! Readers benefit from the author's years of combined experience as a licensed acupuncturist, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultant and horse owner.
Workbook 1, an Introduction to the Basics, is the first of the Whole Horse Wellness series of workbooks dedicated to providing accurate, useful information and equine health care tools for the horse owner.
This 50 page, spiral bound workbook is easy to use and understand with clear charts and graphics – ideal for the beginner or advanced student.
Workbook 1, an Introduction to the Basics includes:
-Qi, yin & yang
-Five elements
-Meridians & channels
-Tendo-muscular meridians
-Zang fu organs
-Acupoints explained
-Acupoints - Points and their uses
-Meridians - Meridian charts & extensive point explanations

To learn more about acupuncture, acupressure, herbs for horses and to read case histories and articles, please visit http://www.wholehorse.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TCM cure for the common cold?

By Zhang Qian, ShanghaiDaily.com

The common cold is caused by a virus, according to Western medicine. Chinese traditional medicine has a different take - four different takes. Still, no one has a cure, writes Zhang Qian. It's the cold season and many people catch cold as the temperature drops. Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headaches - there's nothing worse than the common cold. And despite the wisdom of the ages and the sages, there's no cure.We all know you're supposed to stay warm. Traditional Chinese medicine also recommends drinking ginger soup - ginger contains hot yang energy - to warm you up inside and fight the invading culprit of "pathogenic cold." "Healthy energy can effectively defend us against ailments like colds," says Dr Fang Hong, chief physician of the Respiratory Medicine Department of Longhua Hospital. "But when healthy energy is weakened by fatigue or other serious ailments, pathogenic elements from outside can easily invade the human body through pores, the nose or mouth, and cause disease. "Many people's immune systems have failed to cope with falling temperatures, he says.Western medicine says colds are caused by viruses - we can see them under a microscope. Antihistamines, cough suppressants, aspirin, throat lozenges and other medicine are prescribed for symptoms. Drink lots of liquids, stay warm and wait it out. TCM divides colds into four categories according to their four basic causes - pathogenic cold, wind, damp and heat. Cold and wind are common in winter and spring; damp and heat in summer, but several elements can occur together. They require different treatments. In cold/wind-caused colds, patients usually have nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy throat, aching limbs, coughing with thin phlegm, but no sweating. They usually have a pale tongue with thin coating.

Dispelling pathogenic cold is the main treatment. TCM patent medicine like zheng chai hu yin chong ji (medicinal granules with Chinese thorowax root as the main ingredient) is often prescribed to relieve symptoms. People with this kind of cold should eat a relatively plain diet with less meat. Foods that promote sweating to dispel pathogenic cold are recommended, including chili, onions, green onions, ginger and brown sugar. Drinking a bowl of hot ginger soup, then going to bed under thick quilts will promote sweating - it's one of the most effective methods to relieve cold symptoms, especially fever. Colds caused by pathogenic heat and wind tend to occur in summer and autumn. Symptoms include congestion and runny nose, sore throat and swollen glands, coughing with thick phlegm, headache, aching limbs, but little sweating. The tongue is often yellow with a thin coating. These cold sufferers need to clear pathogenic heat from their systems. TCM patent drugs like yin qiao jie du wan (pill with honeysuckle and forsythia as the main ingredients) are often prescribed. A plain, low-protein diet is advised. Stay away from hot and spicy foods and alcohol. Drink more sour juice, like hawthorn or kiwi fruit, to improve the appetite. Colds caused by pathogenic summer heat and damp cause fever, vomiting, headache, chest congestion and poor appetite. TCM patent drugs like huo xiang zheng qi wan (pills with ageratum as the main ingredient) are prescribed to dispel pathogenic damp and regulate qi (energy). Flu, though sharing some symptoms with colds caused by heat and wind, is more serious, with high fever, aching muscles and serious headache. There can be respiratory problems. The tongue is red with a yellow coating. Patients need drugs that can help detoxify and fight the virus. See a doctor.

Medicinal food for colds:

Colds caused by pathogenic cold and wind:
Ginger and brown sugar soup
Ingredients: Ginger (10g), brown sugar (15g)
Preparation: Chop ginger into thin slices and cook soup. Add brown sugar. Drink while hot. Function: Relieves cold symptoms like chills and runny nose with watery mucus.

Green tea, ginger and green onion tea
Ingredients: green tea (9g), two slices of ginger and three green onions
Preparation: Cook all ingredients and drink while hot.
Function: Relieves cold symptoms like chills and runny nose with watery mucus.

Garlic (cooked and uncooked) Eat several cooked and uncooked slices of garlic every day - if you don't care about your breath. If you do, take garlic pills.
Function: Boosts the immune system, helps prevent colds due to pathogenic cold and wind.

Colds caused by pathogenic heat and wind
Honeysuckle and black bean sauce congee
Ingredients: Honeysuckle (9g), black bean sauce (9g), rice (60g)
Preparation: Make congee, sweeten with sugar.
Function: Relieves fever, headache and sore throat.

Colds caused by summer heat and damp
Huo xiang (ageratum) drink
Ingredients: Huo xiang (15g), chen pi (dried orange peel) (6g), sugar
Preparation: Cook with water, sweeten with sugar, drink while hot.
Function: Relieves headache, chest congestion, vomiting and diarrhea.

For people susceptible to colds
Green onion, ginger and sticky rice congee
Ingredients: Five green onions, three slices of ginger, and sticky rice (100g)
Preparation: Make congee, eat while hot, eat often.
Function: Helps prevent colds.

Most of the herbs mentioned can be found at http://www.eastearthtrade.com/

yin qiao jie du wan can be bought here:

Liu Yuan serves Chinese herb set menu

From: Taiwan News Page 17

Serving nourishing herbal meals that have been specially formulated to help the body ward off the winter chill and welcome the arrival of winter is a deeply rooted Chinese tradition. The Chinese firmly believe that adding Chinese herbs to produce nourishing dishes is absolutely guaranteed to keep oneself healthy and balance the body's yin and yang and improve blood circulation.
The Westin Taipei's Liu Yuan Shanghainese Restaurant Executive Chef Qiu You-Bin has specially selected various herb ingredients that include the deer antlers of a young stag, erxian jiao, Hua Qi ginseng and other nutrient Chinese herbs.
Over 10 various kinds of Chinese herbs are used in the "Warming Winter with Chinese Herb Set Menu" including lobster, soft-shelled turtle, eel and prepared in the most authentic Shanghainese cooking. The Westin Taipei welcomes guests to sample this nutritious Chinese herb set menu offered at the price of NT$2,500 + 10% per person.
Absolutely appetizing and unforgettable.
One of the Set Menu dishes guests can enjoy is the "Marinated Chicken with Chinese Herb and Yam, Black Bean and Scallop". This appetizer dish includes taro, black beans and scallop marinated together with chicken and Chinese herb. Black bean contains an abundant protein as well as Vitamins E and B, calcium, iron, flax oil and lecithin. Sliced pieces of taro is sprinkled on this appetizer that will enable guests to savor plum jam flavor. The Executive Chef has added his home-made fermented honey with the black bean and scallop that allows guests to relish this mouthwatering appetizing appetizer.
The main course that guests can enjoy is "Doubled Boiled Mutton and Turtle Soup with Chinese Herb." This dish is refreshing and not even oily and makes it an unforgettable dining experience. These main course ingredients include turtle, lobster, and top choice eel. The soup base uses "erxian jiao," roots of Chinese angelica (dang gui), huang qi, yi zhu, guang pi as well as a wide range of nutritious Chinese herbs and are boiled for several hours together with aged female chicken. The turtle and mutton are then added to boil to feature a nourishing dish. Guests will be able to increase their immunity and successfully ward off the winter chill.
Other dishes guests will be able to relish include the "Steamed Lobster with Chinese Herb" and the "Braised Deer Antler with Chinese Herb." Steamed Lobster with Chinese Herb ingredients include tian ma, roots of Chinese angelica (dang gui), and lyceum chinensis (matrimony vine) and steamed together with the lobster. Each bite of this delicious lobster brings out the original tastes and flavors of this delectable dish. One of the ingredients "Tian Ma" is perfect for calming one's nerves and easing the body's pressure. The "Braised Deer Antler with Chinese Herb" ingredients use dried deer antler and hua qi ginseng Chinese herb and braised together with deer antler and fresh eel. Guests can take pleasure in enjoying the smooth, fragrant fleshy fruit. Deer antler is a perfect way to nourish one's vitality and improve blood circulation while hua qi ginseng is able to lower blood pressure which is why it is the perfect dish to fight off the winter chill.
While enjoying the various Chinese herbs delicacies, guests will also be able to sample a tasty Sauted Asparagus, Yam and Gingo nut dish. The ingredients include winter Chinese caterpillar, yam, gingo nut and deep-fried together with the asparagus. Lycium chinensis (gou qi) is then sauteed with the ingredients to produce a perfect nourishing dish and an unforgettable dining experience. The fresh winter Chinese caterpillar contains nutritive value and is an ideal way to adjust feeble bodies while gingo nuts contains lots of protein, fat and sugar.